News / Africa

Ugandan Wins Africa Rural Connect Contest

Johnstone Baguma's idea focuses on strengthening the capacity of small-scale rural maize farmers in western Uganda

Vitamin A-enriched orange maize is a possible new weapon in the fight against malnutrition among the world's poor.
Vitamin A-enriched orange maize is a possible new weapon in the fight against malnutrition among the world's poor.

Multimedia

Audio
James Butty

A Ugandan is the grand prize winner of the Africa Rural Connect contest organized last year by the National Peace Corps Association to solicit ideas on ways to improve the lives of rural farmers in Africa.

Johnstone Baguma is founder and executive director of Toro Development Network, a community-based, non-governmental organization that promotes access to, and strategic use of, information communication technologies for development in western Uganda.

Baguma’s idea focused on strengthening the capacity of small-scale rural maize farmers, particularly on production for urban markets.

He told VOA his organization is grateful for the award which, he notes, will go a long way in helping farmers in western Uganda who, he said, have been exploited for a long time.

“As Toro Development Network, we are planning to continue with this project, especially hoping that farmers who are mainly involved in maize growing, how we can help them improve on their production, how they can be able to market their produce because they have been heavily exploited,” he said.

Baguma also hopes the $12,000 prize will enable his organization to further assist rural farmers manage their post-harvest losses, as well as connect them to prospective urban buyers.

He said his organization wants to use basic communication tools, such as mobile phones, to support rural development.

“We realize that, because of the lack of communication, there is a lot of lagging behind, especially in the agro-business sector, looking at issues of how production can be increased, looking at issues of marketing, farmers were being exploited because they couldn’t know different prices in different areas. So, we mainly focus on how we can promote (the) use of basic communication tools for these farmers. For example, we’re looking at mobile phones to be able to connect with different prospective buyers,” Baguma said.

Baguma said the Toro Development Network is also looking at the use of local FM radio stations in the region to help farmers share knowledge about production and how to market their produce.

He said his project is targeting maize farmers because the maize crop has a multiplier effect.

“The maize crop is a staple food in this region. By the same token, the maize crop is a cash crop. Farmers can actually be able to sell and expand on their income. So, we are looking at food security; we are also looking at expanding the economic status of our farmers,” he said.

Baguma said he hopes international development organizations would emulate the approach of the National Peace Corps Association by asking for local public input before formulating any development strategy.

“That is very important; allow the people in the communities to express what they feel can work best for them, and I believe that, if this approach is adopted by a number of donor organizations, I think it would be a good approach to enable to realize more benefit,” Baguma said.

Molly Mattessich, manager of online initiatives for the National Peace Corps Association, said her organization has been impressed by the quality of ideas coming from Africa.

“We think we’ve created a platform for people living in rural Africa to collaborate with Peace Corps volunteers with different organizations from different countries to develop some of the best ideas. So, we are very proud of giving a voice to people who previously did not have a place to post their ideas,” Mattessich said.

She said the National Peace Corps Association will continue to maintain the website, www.AfricaRuralConnect.org for people to continue posting their ideas and contacting other potential organizations.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid